LaMar “Smoktagous77” Johnson

LaMar “Smoktagous77” Johnson, is originally from Detroit, MI. Commonly known as Smok (pronounced SMOKE), he was born with music in his soul.

As an infant, Smok would sit on his grandmother’s lap while at church and drum along to the beat of the choir. Destined to morph into a talent that has a firm hold on timing and precision, he was gifted with the ability to provoke emotion through percussion.

Smok has been professionally playing drums, both live and in the studio since 1996. Throughout this process, Smok started to learn the inner workings of recording studios and began to experiment with developing his own musical style within the structure of after-school and summertime performing arts programs he had access to. As Smok’s skills developed, he started to produce and program click tracks to play along with as a foundation for bands he was working with. This eventually led Smok to Full Sail University where he would start the process of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Audio Production while expanding his musical abilities from sitting behind the drums to sitting ”behind the glass” – a phrase used by top Record Producers and Engineers.

With a background in Gospel music, stemming from his youth in the Baptist Church, Smok has developed a unique understanding of music. With a professional start drumming for World Music acts, Smok would go on to tour and play with many of the former GREAT Motown acts, national Gospel recording artist and stage plays. Eventually leading to playing different genres of music like R & B/Soul, Alternative, Rock, Funk, and Jazz with many other legendary acts in the Detroit area along with major artists from outside of Detroit.

Shortly after relocating to Atlanta in mid-2005, Smok became a staple in the local Gospel, Fusion/Acid Jazz, R & B/Soul, Rock, Hip Hop, Funk, Middle Eastern/Belly Dance, Pop & Country Rock music scenes before returning to some Blues roots. During that process, a well respected Atlanta musician, named Za’ Williams, noticed Smok’s drumming which eventually resulted in a once in a lifetime opportunity to audition for a group Smok grew up listening too. And for the next 6 consecutive years, Smok would share his musicality on countless tours covering 6 out of 7 continents, live performance arrangements, writing & recording sessions, multiple music videos, photo shoots, television and radio appearances as an integral part of Grammy Award-winning, hip hop band, Arrested Development.

All these experiences make Smok an asset for any project in the studio. He has the ear to hear what should be played while maintaining the complexity with simplicity.

Logic Pro X is Smok’s DAW of choice and, as with, every Engineer at Itchy Brain Recording, he’s also extremely proficient in ProTools.

Current professional drum endorsements include Aquarian Drumheads, Empire Ears, Rim Riser, Roc N Soc Thrones, Samsun Cymbals, Abbott Drum Works, Mahabis Shoes.

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